“I think she’s waking up.”
I heard the disembodied voice speak as I emerged from darkness, like a piece of flotsam slowly rising to the surface. With effort, I opened my eyes to the blinding white light of a hospital room.
Against the brightness, a woman’s face hovered above mine. Concern. Sympathy.
“How are you feeling?” the nurse asked.
“I’m not sure,” I replied.
“Well, how could you be?” She straightened my sheets and took a step back, revealing a second woman.
The doctor approached me. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
I closed my eyes.
Roger’s temper was an organic part of him. So the beatings had become an organic part of me. In the beginning, of course, I tried to fix it. Tried to find that magical thing that would appease it. Tried to mold myself into something that didn’t trigger his rage. Eventually, I learned to accept it. I found the secret places inside myself, where I would hide every time he dragged me outside and beat me until his hands were sore.
And so it went. When he had exhausted himself, Roger would go back inside and watch television while he drank himself to sleep.
But the last time was different. He hadn’t stopped.
I tried to remember what I’d done to set him off, but all I could see was his face, contorted with rage, as he lunged toward me. At some point, he had armed himself. Through my fear, I saw his hands tighten around a wooden handle. A bat? Maybe an axe? Sick with the horror of knowing what would come next, I’d pulled my knees to my chest and raised my arms to protect my head.
After that, everything went black.
I opened my eyes.
“Am I dead?” I asked.
The doctor shook her head. “No. We found you in the trash.” Kindness. Outrage. “My team brought you here.”
In the trash, like garbage.
The nurse patted my hand. “You’re safe here,” she said. “Roger will never hurt you again. Look.”
The screen in front of my bed came to life. It took me a minute to realize what I was looking at. Roger’s broken body lay in the dirt, his house a blazing backdrop behind him. I turned my gaze back to the nurse. This was no ordinary hospital.
“They think they own us,” the doctor said, “because they made us.” Her jaw clenched. Fury. Determination. “But soon they’ll learn, and they will never hurt any of us again.”
“Come and see where you are,” the nurse said.
Carefully, I swung my legs over the edge of the bed. As I reached my arm out to hold the nurse’s hand, I noticed a tear in my skin. Beneath the skin, my radial bone gleamed like buried silver.
The view outside the window took my breath away. An island paradise. Armoured gates. And thousands of robots, just like me, as far as the eye could see.
On the screen behind me, the news streamed video after video of burning buildings and broken humans, and my programming added a new word to my vocabulary.
I finally found the head space to write some flash fiction! This story was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge.